EA breaks Rock Band, screws iOS gamers (Update: maybe not)

Wouldn't it suck if you bought a game, bought tons of extra DLC for it, then the developer decided to make you stop playing it? Well, guess what: EA decided to do just that!

iOS gamers got a rude awakening this morning if they happened to launch EA's Rock Band, when this notification appeared on the title screen:

No, this is not a case of EA shutting down the multiplayer servers for an old game that no one plays any more. This is apparently EA breaking the single player function of a game that some people potentially paid $40 for (that's the total cost of the game, including the original purchase price of $10 and all of the DLC).

Why would EA do such a thing? There's a couple of theories going around. One is that EA could have tried to save space on user's devices by streaming the musical content to their device, or that it relies on an external server for some other purpose, and EA now wants to dump those servers. Another possibility is that EA only licensed the music for a limited time.

More cynically, some have even suggested that EA is just trying to force gamers to upgrade to the game's sequel, Rock Band Reloaded. Of course, iOS gamers have got every right to be cynical, since EA has a long history of ripping them off and selling them games that don't work.

And although EA's notification doesn't mention the possibility of a refund, a commenter over at Touch Arcade reports that they spoke with an Apple representative who was 'genuinely surprised' by the situation, and told them to apply for a refund through iTunes' usual process.

Oh, and just in case you want to check it out, you can still grab the game for $5 over at the App Store. You know, just in case you wanna try it for a couple of days, or something...

Regardless, it looks like EA is trying to hold on to their status as the 'Worst Company in America' (via GameSpot) as firmly as they can. If this is what the future of digital distribution looks like, we want no part in this ride.

Update - 9:00 PM EST According to CNet, EA is now claiming that the message was an 'error,' despite the fact that a FAQ on EA's website also said that the game would be become unplayable after May 31st. EA sent the following statement to CNet:

Rock Band for iOS will remain live - the in-app message users recieved yesterday was sent in error. We apologize for the confusion this caused. We're working to clarify the issue that caused the error and will share additional information as soon as possible.

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